Initially called talking books, audiobooks emerged in the early 1930s to make books accessible to the blind. Today, however, the audience for audiobooks is significantly broader. For the flexibility audiobooks offer in compression to traditional books, many people prefer to listen to them as they commute, work out, or even do household work.
The thriving audiobook industry made it imperative for authors and publishers to get audio versions of their books published on popular platforms such as Audible and Itunes. This new market created a demand for voice-over artists who have the narrating skills required to bring books to life.
While many authors personally provide the voice work for their audiobooks, many others prefer to source the task to professional narrators who know the ins and outs of the trade.
If you aspire to be one of those narrators, this article is what you need to land your first narrating assignment.
But First …
What Does It Take To Become An Audiobook Narrator?
Some people think that having a pleasant voice and passion for books is all that it takes to be a successful audiobook narrator. While those qualities are indeed crucial, becoming a professional narrator takes a lot more.
Unlike other forms of voice-overs that can be supplemented with visuals, conveying the substance of an audiobook depends solely on the narration. Therefore, more than just reading out the text, a narrator is also responsible for transcending the emotions in the book to the listener.
Even if the book is not fictional and heavily focused on information, the narrator, in this case, is challenged to make the dry content sound interesting.
To create a good audiobook, you will need to work for about three hours to produce an hour of recorded audio. The final audio should hold the audience attention and distinctively present each of the characters in the book.
Narrating books is fun and rewarding but is not easy as it sounds. Before investing money, time, and energy in pursuing a career in audiobook narrating, do your homework to figure out if book narration is what you want to do. More importantly, to determine if you can handle all the challenges that come with it.
If this is the case, here are three simple steps that we recommend following to become an audiobook narrator.
How To Become An Audiobook Narrator?
Step 1: Practice On Your Own
With no previous voice-over experience, the first step towards landing your first narration job is to practice on your own. You want to practice reading slowly, clearly, and with distinction, and keep at it until you reach the point where it does not sound like you are reading.
Record your practice sessions. Listening back to the audio can help you identify where you can improve your performance.
Additionally, develop the habit of marking up the script as your practice. Writing notes is a preparation skill that could become handy when you do not have the time to read the book multiple times before recording it.
Besides that, you also want to learn how to breathe from your diaphragm instead of your chest. Mastering diaphragm breathing will make your voice sound better, improve your vocal stamina, and make your job way less stressful.
Step 2: Record A Demo
When you are satisfied with the results of your practice sessions, it is time to take the next step and record some demos.
At this stage, you can either rent a studio or build your recording corner by investing in a good-quality microphone, headphones, and a pop filter. It is not wise to spend a fortune constructing a full-fledged recording studio at this time. All you need is the best possible environment for recording.
Other than the equipment, you will also need to learn the basics of sound editing. Narrators are often responsible for producing ready-to-use audio files which require some level of knowledge in sound editing.
Those demos then can go on your websites and portfolio. Using those clips to demonstrate your narrating and editing skills will significantly increase your odds of landing a narration job.
Step 3: Start Looking For Jobs
Confident with your skills and portfolio, you can start looking for opportunities. The easiest way to enter the audio narration market is through freelancing. There are many freelancing platforms where you can find and bid for jobs. Following are some of the most known freelancing platforms:
Although those websites are a good start, once you have experience, you are better off looking for work on more industry-specific websites such as:
Furthermore, as you build a strong portfolio and acquire solid experience, the next step is to contact publishers. Sending your portfolio to publishers and hunting for auditioning opportunities might eventually get you to narrate for one of your favorite authors!
The audiobook industry is booming and, therefore, creating a demand for narrators. Being a successful narrator requires hard work, but with determination, this hard work will pay off.
Are you an author who wants to create an audio version of your book? or a voice artist who wants to start a career in audiobook narration? Mello Studio wants to hear from you. Contact us today and let us work together in making books more accessible to listeners.